Nicholas B. Angell collection of Evan Shipman papers and other materials, 1890-2009


Collection Overview

Nicholas B. Angell collection of Evan Shipman papers and other materials
Dates (Inclusive):
Angell, Nicholas B.
Nicholas B. Angell is the nephew of Evan Shipman; Angell is the son of Shipman's eldest sister, Ellen.
The collection contains original letters, articles and poems written by Evan Shipman, as well as photocopies and originals of related materials compiled by author Sean O'Rourke in the process of writing his biography of Shipman, Grace Under Pressure, a manuscript of which is also included.
Collection Number:
3 Cubic feet
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.

Biographical Note

Evan Shipman was a novelist, poet and journalist, best known as an authority on horse racing and a close friend of Ernest Hemingway. Born in Plainfield, New Hampshire in 1904, Shipman was among the close circle of expatriate American artists in Paris during the 1920s who were inadvertently memorialized by Gertrude Stein's denouncement of them all as "a lost generation." At that time, Shipman was publishing poetry in a number of magazines, including Transition, Scribner's, The New Republic and The Nation, and later in The New Yorker and Esquire. By the 1930s, Shipman was focusing more on prose and writing about horse racing, and in 1935 Scribner's published his novel about the trotting track, Free For All, which was praised by critics but sold poorly. In 1937, Shipman enlisted with the Loyalists to fight in the Spanish Civil War, and later served in the United States Army during World War II. After the wars, Shipman spent much of the remainder of his life at the tracks, writing about horse racing as a featured columnist for The Morning Telegraph and Daily Racing Form until his death from cancer in 1957, at the age of fifty-three. Evan Shipman was eulogized by his editors and colleagues as "one of the world's greatest authorities on thoroughbred and harness racing and breeding," and "the greatest writer on thoroughbred racing this continent ever produced" (Columnist 1). Hemingway devoted a chapter of A Moveable Feast to Shipman - entitled "Evan Shipman at the Lilas" - and dedicated the book Men Without Women to him, as well. Once, Hemingway went so far as to state that "Evan Shipman is writing the finest prose of the 20th century" (Channick 2), and after Shipman's death he wrote, "Evan Shipman was not only a first-rate racing journalist and a student and historian of racing. He was a very fine poet and a good writer of prose. He had no ambitions ever for his writing except to write as perfectly as it is possible to write and most people knew neither his poetry nor his prose. He loved horses and he loved racing but he also loved painting and all of the arts. He was a fine man and the best of friends and he lived gallantly after he had almost no body left to contain his great spirit. He was one of the bravest men I have ever known and no one was a sounder critic nor better company" (Hirsch 1). Works Cited: Channick, Herbert. Evan Shipman. Unpublished article circa 1958. Hirsh, Joe. Only Fitting if Courageous Horse Wins Initial Shipman. Daily Racing Form 20 July 1981. Morning Telegraph Columnist. Evan Shipman Dies; Racing Authority. The Morning Telegraph 25 June 1957.

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Collection Overview

The collection consists of 3 cubic feet of letters, articles, poems and other artifacts - dating from 1890 to 2009 - that document the life and legacy of Evan Shipman.

Series I: Evan Shipman correspondence

This series consists of 1 cubic foot of material dating from 1910-1958; highlights include an original letter from Ernest Hemingway to Evan Shipman, and originals of correspondence between Shipman and his family, friends and colleagues - among them Ernest Hemingway, Scribner's editor Maxwell Perkins, writers Robert Coates, Malcolm Cowley, Robert Desnos, Matthew Josephson and Harold Stearns, painter Hans Hofmann, movie star Gloria Hellar (Anne Sheridan), and Vera Milanova (Daumal).

Series II: Sean O'Rourke papers

This series consists of 2 cubic feet of material dating from 1890-2009; highlights include photographs of the Shipman family, copies of Evan Shipman's articles and poems, his testimony before the Subversive Activities Control Board in 1954 about his involvement in the Spanish Civil War, and a manuscript of author Sean O'Rourke's biography of Shipman, Grace Under Pressure, with notes and other accompanying materials.

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Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series - Evan Shipman correspondence, and Sean O'Rourke papers.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Nicholas B. Angell collection of Evan Shipman papers and other materials, RBM 7728, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Photographic

Personal Name(s)

  • Angell, Nicholas B.

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Collection Inventory

Click associated checkboxes to select items to request. When you have finished, click the Submit Request button.


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